Lenovo, Google launch Project Tango device

Project Tango technology gives a mobile device the ability to navigate the physical world similar to how we do as humans

At the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Lenovo announced the development of the first consumer mobile device with Project Tango in collaboration with Google.

Available in summer 2016, the new smartphone, powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, turns the screen into a magic window that can overlay digital information and objects onto the real world. Lenovo, Google, and Qualcomm Technologies are working closely together to optimize the software and hardware to ensure consumers get the most out of the Project Tango platform.

Google’s Project Tango is a technology platform that uses advanced computer vision, depth sensing, and motion tracking to create on-screen 3D experiences, allowing users to explore their physical environments via their device. Specialized hardware and software combine to let the device react to every movement of the user, when they step forward, backward, or lean side to side. App developers can transform your home into a game level, or create a magic window into virtual and augmented environments. Project Tango-enabled devices can recognize places they’ve been before, like your living room, the office, or public spaces.…Read More

Inside the school that immerses students in Spanish — and technology

A Spanish immersion program makes full use of technology in the classroom

The thought of preparing our students for their 21st century futures conjures up a number of different ideas. There’s imparting the necessary technology skills students will need to thrive in their careers, as well as interpersonal skills such as collaboration and communication and making sure students can function in an increasingly globalized world. On that last point, my school, Shiloh Elementary School in Monroe, N.C., wondered if we were doing enough. Wouldn’t teaching fluency a foreign language be the ultimate means to prepare students for a diverse and multicultural world?

Since 2012, Shiloh has been very proud to have hosted what we call the SPLASH Spanish immersion program. Currently, we have one immersion class—taught full-time in Spanish, with the goal of “immersing” or teaching Spanish to speakers of other languages, like English—in each of our Kindergarten through third grade classrooms. Our school has embraced this wonderful program, and our dedicated teachers have come to us from various Spanish-speaking countries, including Colombia, Venezuela, Honduras, Chile, and Spain through VIF International Education, a company located nearby in Chapel Hill, N.C. that has provided us the means for our immersion program. These classes are effectively preparing our students to become successful, responsible, and confident bilingual students, and the use of technology in each of these immersion classrooms has truly enhanced the curriculum.

Each immersion classroom has some student computers and either a Dell short-throw projector or a Promethean Board. Our students are able to embrace and interact with the technology on a daily basis. Our immersion teachers state that these interactive tools empower them to have successful teaching environments where the bilingual capabilities of their students are fully realized. For example, SPLASH teachers use educational programs and lessons that allow their students to embrace new topics and exciting facts in a 21st Century manner. Teachers view their students as “digital citizens” who are being given the tools each day to interact in the modern world.…Read More

What do we really mean by risk taking in the classroom?

It’s important for students to learn risk taking skills. But how do schools do that without taking some big risks themselves?

Let’s face it. We are of two minds when it comes to how we feel about kids and risk taking. We know that the teenage brain is wired to ignore consequences and to take risks without any adult encouragement, so parents spend a lot of time trying to keep their kids from doing stupid things like drinking and driving or having unprotected sex.

In the classroom, however, risk taking is often viewed as a good thing. We educators tend to praise and encourage students to take gambles and learn from their mistakes. At least, that’s what we say.

This idea can raise a few hackles and more than a few questions. What characterizes a “good risk?” How can we create a culture of risk taking in our classrooms? And what might we currently be doing that discourages risk taking in our students?…Read More

3 ways teachers can make learning more interactive

From gamification to crowdsourcing, improve learning with these interactive elements

interactive-classroomToday’s students are a uniquely interactive group. Most of the 80 million Americans who are part of the millennial generation—a group that comprises the lion’s share of today’s student population—can’t remember a time when they didn’t have instant access to the internet.  Most of them grew up playing video games, and ever since they can remember, they’ve been in constant contact with friends via social media platforms and text messages. A growing number of today’s instructors also fall into this group.

Educators who want to reach students who favor interactive communication know that integrating digital tools into their lesson plans can be an effective strategy, and many have incorporated technology tools into the classroom in one way or another. But to make a real difference, educators have to integrate technology in a meaningful way. It’s not sufficient to just use social media platforms as an alternate communication venue or post schedules on a class Facebook page.

So how can educators use technology in a more meaningful way? Here are three methods educators are successfully using to connect with a new generation of students in the classroom.…Read More

Why overwhelmed educators should stick to these simple tech tools

Tech is shifting faster than teacher training can keep up. The solution is to keep it simple

simple-overhelmed-teacherI recently had the pleasure of spending a few hours in a friend’s classroom where I introduced her students to technology applications that would engage them in “showing what they know” at different points in their learning. Having worked with this teacher for many years, I had always considered her a technology pioneer.

So it came as something of a surprise when, planning for our time together, she confided in me that she no longer felt empowered by technology so much as overwhelmed by it. Looking back, it’s easy to see how this could have happened.

When our new wireless network went live early last year, the choice of which applications and technologies to use was no longer limited by bandwidth issues. Our Board of Education then announced we were now a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) district, but did not provide the professional development time to support this initiative. My friend was overwhelmed by the plethora of tools available. She needed guidance on selection and advice in where the potholes were in introducing these tools to her students. She knew enough to know there are always “snags” when technology gets introduced, but no longer felt confident in navigating those snags.…Read More

How a GoPro Got My Students Excited to Learn

One teacher recounts the transformation in learning, collaboration, and creativity he’s seen after adding a GoProgopro-racecar

Rewind to May 2007. . .

I had not planned to purchase a GoPro while out shopping. However, it was on sale, I had a coupon, two gift cards, and two weeks in the Florida Keys was just a moon phase away. Needless to say the summer spent fishing, snorkeling, and kayaking in the Keys yielded very few incredible pictures. I had purchased the Digital Hero 3, the first GoPro with sound. After that experience my GoPro stayed packed up with all my kayak gear and did not see the light of day too often.

Fast forward to August 2013 . . .    …Read More

4 Essential Game-Based Learning Questions

Asking the right questions can help games make a positive impact in the classroom

game-learningYou’d have to live under a rock to be unfamiliar with the rise of game-based learning in classrooms across the nation in recent years. Integrating a game into an instructional unit may seem daunting, but four key implementation questions should help educators use games to support teaching and learning and help drive student engagement.

Games offer opportunities for collaboration and inquiry-based, self-directed learning. They also support skill development that students need under Common Core math and Next Generation Science Standards.

It’s first important to define what is not a learning game, said Susannah Gordon-Messer, curriculum and professional development specialist at the MIT Education Arcade, during an edWeb webinar on gaming implementation strategies.…Read More

Three Ways Digital Badges are Used in Education

As schools progress to include online and on-campus courses and activities, digital badges are suited to meet the needs of emerging education models

gI_132393_MakingbadgesAs children, our accomplishments were recognized with trophies, plaques, a pat on the back or cloth badges sewn on to a Girl Scout or Boy Scout sash.

In high school and college, we received diplomas and began to fill up resumes and LinkedIn profiles with job qualifications and experience. But what if there was a way to help acknowledge educational experiences that happen outside of the classroom and recognize valuable skills such as leadership or collaboration?

To address this need, the trend of digital badges is rapidly catching on. But what will be its impact and potential on education?…Read More

How the ‘four Cs’ fit with the Common Core

The ‘four Cs’ are an integral part of the Common Core standards; here are free resources for helping to teach these important skills

four-cs
Connecting students is a great opportunity to teach digital literacy and citizenship.

The 21st-century skills of communication, collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking, often referred to as the “four Cs,” are an integral part of the Common Core standards.

Fortunately, there are an abundance of free resources and digital tools that empower teachers to lead by example and integrate these “four Cs” in meaningful and effective ways.

Communication…Read More